Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Faithful and True

I am so thankful that during this time in our lives, as we seek God's direction for our family, that whatever we are going through, wherever He leads us, we can always depend on God and trust in His Word.

"The entirety of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous judgements endures forever."
Psalm 119:60

"Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;"
Deuteronomy 7:9

"And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You."
Psalm 9:10

"God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord."
1 Corinthians 1:9

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sharing My Heart

The Lord has been so good to our family - bringing my husband to a deeper understanding of his role as head and leader. With this has come a greater desire to learn about what God desires from Scott and I as spouses and parents. Through a long chain of events that began in October of last year, we are now considering and praying for God's direction for our family, including a possible new church. There wasn't any "big" thing that happened, just a small seed that was planted and began to grown through much prayer and silence over the last year. I can say that it was first planted in my heart and it is only within the last couple of months that it has also taken root in my husbands. Over the last year there was much prayer on part for the Lord to bring Scott and I to the same place. There was also much preparation from the Holy Spirit in Scott's life.

This new church (hello to any Cornerstone readers) is about as far from different from our current non denominational church as you can get but I have been so surprised at how at home we feel there and how much peace I feel after just two visits. Having said that, there are bunch of questions floating through my mind and I find myself worrying and wondering if a switch there is right for our family.

The message from last week has been such a comfort to me throughout this week as I recall the assurrances that I have when in the midst of life or a storm. I've gotten out my notes and re-read them each day as well as the two portions of Scripture that were read.

We love the people at our current church. They welcomed us in 2 years ago after a very hurtful situation and break at another church (just so you know we are NOT church hoppers and never ever envisioned that we would leave the first church). When we left that church we started attending a church an hour away from our home. It was nice to be so far away. Pastor Dave and Tyra showed us what true servanthood and pastoral care looked like and loved on us and allowed us to heal, saying from the very beginning that they were there for us for however long the Lord would have us to be at New Creation, whether it was to be our new church home or if it was just for a time. They never placed any limits or expectations on us, they just loved us and oh how we love them!!!

You might be asking yourself, if you love them then why are you considering a move to a new church. Well, there are many different reasons, none having to do with any person or ministry at New Creation but rather with the direction we feel the Lord is leading our family in. A vision for our family to be connected rather than fragmented into different classes. A vision to turn the hearts of our children back to us rather than youth leaders and teachers. A vision of family discipleship and a place where we can fellowship with other believers. We are also looking for a return to a more traditional worship service, where there is a holy, reverant fear of the Lord rather than some of the casualness that can come into the church today. Some might disagree with me there - and without fully going into what I mean, I ask that you please be respectful of the fact that this is where the Lord is leading "our" family... it might not be the direction for yours but we have felt such encouragement and peace in our spirits from visiting the new church.

Have we committed to leave our current church and make the switch? No, not yet. Scott and I have many questions, infact we've started a list of them on a sheet of paper and hope to meet with someone from Cornerstone to ask them about it. What we have committed to is to visiting the church, getting to know the families and most importantly seeking God through prayer for the direction of our family.

I'll end with this... God is faithful and I know that whether we stay at our current church or begin a new season with the family of Cornerstone we have learned much and the Lord has given Scott and I a vision for our family and a desire to see that come to pass either way.

If you feel so inclined, please pray for Scott and I - for wisdom and for the strength and discipline in our own lives as this really comes down to more than just attending a church. It is a matter of obedience to the Lord. Thanks!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Happy Saturday! :-)

Today is a day for catching up at home. I don't have any errands to run that I know of. I tried to make sure that I had everything I needed so that we could stay home today. We were quite busy this week with Scott still home through Wednesday afternoon, Andrew's birthday, piano and guitar lessons, Lego club, school and a shopping trip. My home needs a little tender loving care today and I have some baking that I want to do as well.

With all the busyness of this week it reminded me that I haven't been so diligent with our routine to prepare for the Lord's Day to be a day of worship and rest. Over the summer I came across a series of blog posts on how to prepare for the Lord's Day at the Doorposts blog. Since I needed a little refresher I thought I would share the links here. I have found it to be very helpful (when I follow our routine) and there is much more peace in our home on Sunday mornings.

Preparing for a Day of Rest, pt. 1

Preparing for a Day of Rest, pt. 2

Preparing for a Day of Rest, pt. 3

Preparing for a Day of Rest, pt. 4

Preparing for a Day of Rest, pt. 5

Here are few of the things that we do:

~ Fuel up the van. We drive an hour to church and it seems that we are always a little behind schedule no matter how prepared we are. Having the van ready to go saves us from a 10 minute stop to fuel up and then we also don't deal with the pleas of "buy me something" from our youngest.

~ Having our Bibles all ready to go and in the back hall by the door.

~ Our son has what we call a laptop. It's really just a clear plastic lego bin that opens up. Inside he keeps paper, pens, pencils, his DS and a few games. The hard plastic case provides a hard surface to draw on.

~ What's for lunch... because we drive an hour away and don't get out of service until 1pm we need to have a plan for lunch. We sometimes attend our life group potluck but on often times we need to get home. If I am in a rush and not prepared we stop at McDonald's. My husband does not like us to do this because it already costs us close to $22 dollars to drive to church and then another $20 or more to feed everyone. Every week that money adds up. If we do that every Sunday it is $80 dollars a month!!

~ I have the kids pick out their clothes on Saturday's except for our daughter. She is 17 and is very good about getting all of her things ready.

How does your family prepare for the Lord's Day? I would love to hear from you in the comment section. :-) I know from glancing at the posts above this morning I have some new ideas.

Have a wonderful weekend and Lord's Day. God bless you.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Family Worship

I thought I would share some of the things that we have been discussing during our family worship time here on my blog. Not so much for the sake of sharing with everyone on the www but as a record for me and our family.
We always open in prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to bring understanding and revelation of the Word to us. To make it living and active and to bless our time with one another. Last night Scott opened in prayer and then he asked Jonathan, our 16 year old son to read John 2:12-25 (we are reading through the Gospel of John). Most of the time Scott does the reading himself however sometimes he asks one of the boys to do it. We have tried to have everyone take turns and divide up the verses but we've found that everyone is so busy paying attention to when its their turn that they aren't really paying attention. :)
We use what some call the S.O.A.P method during our time together... Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. After we read through a portion or certain account we go back to the beginning and Scott and I ask the kids questions about what we read, what is happening, who is speaking, what is being said, who are they talking to etc. This helps to give us context and understanding and I have been so blessed by the insight that the Lord has given to Scott to share with us. This isn't something that comes easy for Scott - this is a new practice for our family and he's nervous and feels like I can do a better job but the Lord is showing Scott that it is his responsibility and I am so proud of him for stepping out in this area and leading.
O.kay, so back to our time in John 2; we really focused our discussion on verses 23-25
"Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name and when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in them."
I found this so interesting, that Jesus did not commit Himself to those that believed, it seems odd and out of character. I am sure that I've never noticed this before in my own reading. A deeper look into these verses revealed to us that Jesus could see into the hearts of those that believed and while they believed Jesus knew that there wouldn't be action to back up their belief. One commentary we read said that they were unsaved believers. I thought about how many people say they believe in Christ and yet their lives and actions don't reflect it. We had discussed this very thing the night before when in our reading we read that Jesus had manifested His power and glory through the miracle at the wedding feast and how we too are to manifest His glory to others through our lives. What a sobering thought though... that Jesus did not commit himself to them. It's not that He didn't love them and He certainly came to earth and shed His blood for them just as He did for all of us, but He was not about to commit Himself to them and coddle them along. I once heard someone say that if you have to beg and ask someone to come to church you'll have to do it to keep them there. Jesus will never force us into relationship with Him, we each need to make that choice to believe and then FOLLOW Jesus. These people made their choice and Jesus, knowing their hearts, knew what that choice was and moved on. I wonder how it made Him feel though - to see their hearts and know that although they belived they still rejected Him. :(

Our application for the evening was to examine our lives - do we merely believe or does our very life manifest Christ clearly to others. When we are finished we close in prayer and Scott prayers over the Word that we shared asking the Lord to make it real to each of us and prayes a blessing over us.

I am so very thankful to the Lord for the work that He is doing in my husbands life. Scott, because of his job and often being gone, has always left the spiritual teaching up to me and I've had many (many) failed attempts at family devotion or worship time. We would get busy and I would get lazy and miss a night and then the next night we would be gone and before you knew it we weren't doing it anymore. The kids were also looking at me as the head of our home. Again, with Scott being gone so many of the decisions and things that needed to be done fell to me. We are seeing the error in this and are working hard to correct this and so for now, while Scott is gone from home we will put family worship time on hold and then when he is home, Scott will pick it back up and lead. We are trying to establish Scott's leadership in the home and while I know that I am called alongside Scott to help in this area, for now he feels that this would be best and I agree. I pray that the Lord will bless our time together as a family and that Biblical order will be restored.